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Tariffs and Growth in Late Nineteenth Century America

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  • Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract

Were high import tariffs somehow related to the strong U.S. economic growth during the late nineteenth century? This paper examines this frequently mentioned but controversial question and investigates the channels by which tariffs could have promoted growth during this period. The paper shows that: (i) late nineteenth century growth hinged more on population expansion and capital accumulation than on productivity growth; (ii) tariffs may have discouraged capital accumulation by raising the price of imported capital goods; (iii) productivity growth was most rapid in non-traded sectors (such as utilities and services) whose performance was not directly related to the tariff.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7639.

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Date of creation: Apr 2000
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Publication status: published as Douglas A. Irwin, 2001. "Tariffs and Growth in Late Nineteenth Century America," The World Economy, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(1), pages 15-30, 01.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7639

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  1. Douglas A. Irwin, 1997. "Higher Tariffs, Lower Revenues? Analyzing the Fiscal Aspects of the "Great Tariff Debate of 1888"," NBER Working Papers 6239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  3. Irwin, Douglas A., 2000. "Did Late-Nineteenth-Century U S. Tarriffs Promote Infant Industries? Evidence From the Tinplate Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 335-360, June.
  4. O'Rourke, Kevin H, 1997. "Tariffs and Growth in the Late Nineteenth Century," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 1700, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to Cross-National Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Tarifas e crescimento no século XIX
    by Thomas H. Kang in Oikomania on 2012-02-24 12:24:00
  2. Est-ce qu’un pays doit protéger ses industries naissantes pour se développer?
    by minarchiste in Le Minarchiste on 2013-03-01 12:12:25
  3. Le culte des exportations…
    by Minarchiste in Le Minarchiste on 2013-07-26 11:41:50
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Raymond Riezman & John Whalley & Shunming Zhang, 2005. "Metrics Capturing the Degree to which Individual Economies are Globalized," CESifo Working Paper Series 1450, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Antonio Tena-Junguito, 2009. "Bairoch revisited: tariff structure and growth in the late 19th century," Economic History Working Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History 27869, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.
  4. Douglas A. Irwin, 2002. "Interpreting the Tariff-Growth Correlation of the Late Nineteenth Century," NBER Working Papers 8739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "A Tariff-Growth Paradox? Protection's Impact the World Around 1875-1997," NBER Working Papers 8459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nicholas Crafts & Anthony J. Venables, 2002. "Globalization in History: A Geographical Perspective," CEP Discussion Papers dp0524, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2010. "Trade Liberalisation and The Poverty of Nations: A Review Article," Departmental Working Papers, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics 2010-01, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  8. Carlo Pietrobelli & Silvia Nenci, 2007. "Does tariff liberalization promote trade? Latin America in the long run (1900-2000)," Working Papers, CREI Università degli Studi Roma Tre 0704, CREI Università degli Studi Roma Tre, revised 2007.
  9. Yilmaz Akyüz, 2005. "The WTO Negotiations on Industrial Tariffs : What is at Stake for Developing Countries?," Trade Working Papers 22080, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  10. Yilmaz Akyuz, 2005. "The WTO Negotiations on Industrial Tariffs: What is at Stake for Developing Countries?," Working Papers, Turkish Economic Association 2005/8, Turkish Economic Association.
  11. Antonio Tena Junguito, 2006. "Tariff History Lessons from the European Periphery. Protection Intensity and the Infant Industry Argument in Spain and Italy 1870-1930," Working Papers in Economic History wp06-08, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.

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